Obama on bus tour: GOP jobs plan is 'let's have dirtier air, dirtier water'
President Obama is hitting the road in North Carolina and Virginia to push his jobs plan and slam Republicans for opposing it. He would also very much like to win those states again next fall.
When the going gets rough, blame the other guys. That appeared to be President Obama’s game plan Monday as he attacked congressional Republicans at the start of a three-day bus tour across North Carolina and Virginia. Both are states he won in 2008 that could be hard to hold onto in next year’s presidential race.Skip to next paragraph
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Mr. Obama started in Ashville, N.C., a liberal haven in the conservative western part of the state, and wasted no time in lashing out at Senate Republicans for blocking consideration of his $447 billion jobs bill last week.
“They said no to putting teachers and construction workers back on the job,” Obama said to a crowd at Ashville Regional Airport. “They said no to rebuilding our roads and our bridges and our airports. They said no to cutting taxes for middle-class families and small businesses when all they’ve been doing is cutting taxes for the wealthiest Americans.”
Obama then described the Republican jobs plan in the most caustic of terms: “You got their plan, which is, Let’s have dirtier air, dirtier water, [and] less people with health insurance.”
The president confirmed his plan to break up the jobs bill into smaller pieces. “Maybe they just couldn’t understand the whole all at once,” he said, adding that he would start with a bill to fund the jobs of hundreds of thousands of teachers, police officers, and firefighters.
Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D) of Nevada was expected on Monday afternoon to announce the introduction of a $35 billion Teachers and First Responders Back to Work Act, though the Senate may not take it up right away.
The White House insists Obama’s bus tour through North Carolina and Virginia is all about policy and not politics, but the president’s uphill effort at reelection next year is hard not to see. North Carolina barely squeaked into the Obama column in 2008, choosing him over Republican John McCain by only about 14,000 out of 4.3 million cast (49.7 percent to 49.4 percent).
Obama can still win reelection without North Carolina’s 15 electoral votes, though political handicappers say the odds are against him. But the Democrats aren’t giving up. They’re holding their national convention in Charlotte, N.C., next September, and the state’s Democratic governor, Democratic junior senator, and handful of Democratic House members could help support the president.